Publisher: Fridhem Publishing
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Scandinavian Noir
Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to.
Because of You is the deeply moving debut novel by Scandinavian writer Helene Fermont. It’s a gripping work of modern women’s fiction with a distinct ‘Scandi’ feel and a psychological twist.
Scandinavian noir has firmly established itself as a bestselling genre in the UK. Because of You takes the elements that make this style of writing so compelling – the realism and dark, morally complex mood – and combines it with women’s fiction.
This is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny and will appeal to readers who appreciate an emotive, uncompromising and fulfilling read driven by character and circumstance.
This is my first review as part of the #bteam which is Bookollective’s review team. If you haven’t heard of them, please check them out! They just launched on November 1 and are a community uniting authors, publishers and bloggers.
I haven’t read a good, epic story of a life in way too long and I hadn’t realized how much I’ve missed them until I started reading Because of You. It was so completely different from the books I’ve been drawn to as of late. It was an emotional, yet sometimes dark journey alongside Hannah Stein. The novel follows her during the majority of her adult life, and the reader experiences all the highs and lows of her life right beside her.
It begins when Hannah is just a teenager getting ready to move from her home to London for a gap year. It seems from the start that she’s led a charmed life, she has doting and kind parents and a good relationship with her brother, Peter. Hannah comes across a bit sheltered and pampered in the beginning, and I found myself wondering just how much I would be able to relate to her. I shouldn’t have worried because as the story progresses and Hannah matures, she becomes a woman that practically anyone could relate to.
I’m reticent to reveal too much about the plot as I really enjoyed going along with Hannah on her journey. She experiences so much throughout her life, and Fermont is not afraid to discuss difficult subject matter. There is divorce, death, grief, loss, epic love, pain, heartbreak, rape, abuse, illness, honestly anything you can imagine that a person may experience in their lifetime. This book had such a genuine and authentic feeling to it and I think it’s partly because all the situations Hannah has to endure are ones that many people have gone through themselves.
Besides Hannah, there is a wide variety of characters, some you will fall in love with and adore, and others that you will hate. Again, this is no different than the types of people we all encounter in our lives, making it all the more relatable. Since it spans decades of her life, she meets a varied and colorful cast of characters along her way.
I was very invested in Hannah’s life and eager to see where she would end up. As much as I wanted to see how it would end, I was sad to say goodbye to Hannah and her friends and family when it was all over. This is a story of love, friendship and family. A story of one woman’s fascinating life experiences and how she copes with all the pain and loss that comes with simply living life.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Bookollective for my review copy.